The prophet Daniel never faced the proposition of an election, as in his day rulers seized or imposed power on others. His story begins in a besieged near-east city, with walls imploding and people dying. It continues as a forced adviser to Babylon’s great king Nebuchadnezzar, with an adopted name and implied castration.
His paradigm lacked the nuance of voting and seeming illusion of control it brings. And what’s curious is this doesn’t lead to anxiety and depression for Daniel, but purpose and hope. He excels in serving four successive kings, seeing beyond his people’s dark situation to the deliverance God has promised for Jewish exiles.
Regardless of the opinions of pundits, there’s no “Christian” party in America as every political camp is home to large swaths of believers. Those who serve right wing and left wing administrations both claim Christ as king and have been regenerated.
To correlate an individual’s eternal salvation to their political party or leader is not only foolish, but dangerous.
Daniel, Esther, Joseph, Nicodemus and countless others would need to be denigrated for their political affiliation and slandered by polemic Christians imitating their favorite cable news commentator. What’s scary is we will be held accountable for what we say right now in this election season, and judged by that same standard (see Jesus in Matthew 5:22).
While many of us will be tempted to slam brothers and sisters on the “wrong” side, Daniel declined to condemn an evil monarch but loved and served him. And this led to the most unlikely of outcomes, as Nebuchadnezzar bows the knee before Daniel’s God and becomes Daniel’s brother.
Why point this out? There are a lot of current and future brothers and sisters in your church, at your workplace and on your street who are easy targets for borrowed soundbites and half- baked judgments. But to see their politics before their souls takes our eyes off the scoreboard and empties our witness of any power to bring kings to their knees and sinners to their savior.
Because that’s the goal, right? This election wasn’t the most crucial moment in history, Calvary was. Your future isn’t riding on the shoulders of a septuagenarian candidate but on God’s son on a cross. That is the great contest where good met evil to decide our future, where God claimed our greatest enemy is sin and greatest hope isn’t a politician, but a substitute.
Your sin has been forgiven in a crucified savior, your future secured in a resurrected king. The gospel message keeps the score for both you and your neighbors, so don’t let an election steal your focus from it! Keep Jesus central and serve all men and women with purpose and hope like Daniel, knowing God is both in control and coming soon.
Fred Kingman is the lead pastor at Prodigal Church.